Sparks

This post will be a short one (ironic coming from me). I want to share a special moment that occurred today. Now, it seems almost easy to be moved by innocent, open, and malleable children, but when a moment is shared with a fully grown stranger it is truly special. To my surprise public buses really do not bother me that much. They’re terrifying and I have no idea which lane we are in, or what side of the road we are actually supposed to be driving on, but I never feel scared. The excitement of seeing the city and the people overcomes any other emotion. I climb in and add to the collection of packed Nepali’s like sardines in a can. Although I stand out like a pale ghostly saltine. The man next to me is quite large and tries to shrink himself into his seat, it doesn’t work but I don’t mind, all that matters is that I can see the beautiful dusty roads, zooming motorbikes, and colorful people outside. He begins with small questions, “Which country?”, “Are you alone?”. I hear an obvious change in his tone when he learns that I am from America. He is clearly excited, telling me about his fellow engineering friends who work in the capital of America. “Washington D.C.” he repeats, in the same mysterious yearning way that I used to, and even still say, “Asia”. Of course we talk about America and his friends for a few minutes. He tells me that once they brought back an American coin to his village. “It was the first time anyone had ever seen one”. All of the children were so intrigued by the coin. Everyone wanted to see it. “I had one too, once he gave to me, I think it was 10, but it is no longer. Kept it for so many years”. I’m almost positive that I have one american coin left in my wallet. I’m not even sure how it’s made the journey amongst my, what feels like millions, of Nepali rupees. I excuse myself, as I have to untuck my baby arm from his much larger arm to reach into my bag. I slowly pull out a perfectly shiny Virginia quarter. There were no words exchanged. In an instant his eyes held more light than the sun and his smile was the epitome of sheer joy. He musters a “Wow” and holds the quarter preciously as if it is his very own new born child. I see the driver looking over at us as if we have just produced an alien (he’s not watching the road, who needs to anyways). The man, who’s “good name” is Sandesh, quickly overcomes his awe and then floods me with excited questions about American currency, and specifically his new coin. 25 cents for one of the most beautiful exchanges of emotion. It was as if in that moment only happiness had a true value. The coin had no monetary worth, but was rather a much more powerful token of kindness from one stranger to another. A priceless memory, a snapshot in time, and a facial expression that I will cherish and remember forever. 

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